Stage 2 | Subject Outline | Versions control

Music Studies Stage 2
Subject outline

Version 4.0 - For teaching in 2024.
Accredited in June 2017 for teaching at Stage 2 from 2019.

Stage 2 | Subject outline | Content | Suggested teaching and learning strategies

Suggested teaching and learning strategies

The following teaching and learning strategies are suggested as possible approaches and contexts, and are neither comprehensive nor exclusive. Teachers and students may choose to select from these, and are encouraged to consider other strategies according to particular needs and interests.

Understanding music

Suggested teaching and learning strategies may include, but are not limited to:

  • aural perception practice
  • score reading and structural analysis of selected works, own performance repertoire, and own compositions/arrangements
  • harmonic analysis of selected works and own created works with score annotations as applicable
  • targeted theory tasks in which students make connections between selected repertoire for study and elemental concepts being learned
  • external sources (e.g. a symphony orchestra learning resources and events)
  • class discussions and activities focused on making:
    • elemental connections between disparate musical styles
    • conceptual connections between different subject areas (e.g. evidence of the Golden Ratio in mathematics and sonata form)
    • structural connections between different musical works.

Creating music

Students are encouraged to refine their skills and understanding of their creative work through building confidence and competence as a performer and/or composer or arranger. Schools should provide regular and diverse opportunities for students to practise their creative skills in front of an audience.

Suggested teaching and learning strategies may include, but are not limited to:

  • attending workshops and masterclasses (e.g. with externally sourced clinicians, or a symphony orchestra’s outreach program)
  • performing works in front of a range of audiences
  • building a folio of compositions
  • exploring and experimenting with compositional techniques
  • creating a composition in response to a text, image, or event
  • critiquing exemplary performances (live or online)
  • providing feedback (including peer feedback) on creative works
  • attending local performances (e.g. a symphony orchestra’s rehearsals)
  • participating in lunchtime concerts
  • presenting performances of students’ creative works at assemblies.

Responding to music

Suggestions for a comparative analysis study include, but are not limited to:

  • piano music by Australian composers (e.g. a work by Miriam Hyde and a work by Peter Sculthorpe)
  • American minimalism (e.g. a work by Philip Glass and a work by John Adams)
  • two songs from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein
  • two examples of traditional world music
  • A Day in the Life by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and Wouldn’t It Be Nice by Brian Wilson
  • OK Computer and Kid A by Radiohead
  • first movement of any piano sonata by Mozart and Beethoven
  • Lieder such as Der Erlkönig and Gretchen am Spinnrade by Schubert
  • two movements from Enigma Variations by Elgar
  • Anthropology by Charlie Parker and Petits Machins by Miles Davis
  • St Louis Blues by Bessie Smith and It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing by Ella Fitzgerald
  • a fugue by JS Bach and a fugue by Shostakovich
  • two songs from Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin
  • Endtroducing by DJ Shadow and Play by Moby
  • a string quartet by Mozart and a string quartet by Haydn (select one by each composer)
  • Sweet Home Chicago by Robert Johnson and I’m Tore Down by Eric Clapton.

Study of the chosen topic should be assisted with relevant listening material and scores (where appropriate). This may include further relevant listening beyond the two selected works.

Students research, analyse, and interpret musical works from one or more styles and/or genres. They focus on stylistic and/or technical elements, through aural recognition and/or reading scores. 

Suggested areas of study may include, but are not limited to:

  • stylistic characteristics of different musical epochs (e.g. Baroque period, 20th century)
  • music of a particular culture
  • film scores
  • art songs
  • concept albums
  • works for a particular ensemble grouping (opera, symphony, concerto, music theatre, popular genres)
  • music for games
  • blues
  • jazz.